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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Monday, July 06, 2009

Bankers and Members of parliament are not the flavour of the month at present. It is said that greed has got the better of some prominent members of these professions.
As Christians we shouldn’t be very shocked by sin. We are accustomed to it. As humans to doing it, and as Christians to understanding a certain tendency, seemingly ‘part of’ human nature, to do it (this comes from Original Sin and disordered desire, or ‘concupiscence’, which we sadly receive at conception). This is sad, even tragic. We cannot settle for it, least of all in ourselves. But it's not a shock. What we are hopefully even more accustomed to as Catholics is the wonder and joy of sincere repentance, forgiveness and amendment. This joy is really why Catholics are accustomed to sin.
This awareness makes it quite a bit easier to recognize the pressure upon us all to sin, those slings and arrows which can reduce our culpability and guilt when we do wrong things. So we make the distinction between sin and sinner. We are called to be very cautious about judging the person.
This is turn helps us to be just about judging behaviour. On the one hand taking care to judge the nature of an actual act that might appear wrong before determining its rectitude, and on the other had calling a spade a spade when things are done wrong, calmly and coolly recognizing the bad, even horrific, effects of sin, working for their and its eradication.
Such justice is crucial. On the one hand we recognize that false accusations, ‘calumny’ and a witch-hunt culture can do untold damage to the innocent (it’s worth remember that even true accusations bandied about for fun are also a sin, the sin of ‘detraction’). On the other hand, given that wrong behaviour of its very nature wounds individual humans and their communities we need to be able to name it for what it is. The alternative to being thus accustomed to sin is being so shocked by it in others that it makes us feel superior and makes it harder for us to show the love and forgiveness needed, or being so shocked by it in ourselves that we are not so open to receiving love and forgiveness. We can respectively become part of a metaphorical lynch mob towards others or go into psychological denial about ourselves. This is not the right reaction to sin. Let us pray that Catholic accustomization may greet our lost leaders

posted by Sinead Reekie at 11:43 am